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Grants awarded to Okla. tribes for public safety efforts

Three regional Native American tribes will be strengthening their public health and safety initiatives after receiving recent grants


By Kimberly Barker
The Joplin Globe

Three regional Native American tribes will be strengthening their public health and safety initiatives after receiving recent grants.

The U. S. Department of Justice is distributing more than $18 million in grants to Oklahoma tribal governments.

The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma received $4.5 million, which was the largest grant given to any one tribe. Numerous awards were distributed through the department's Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation, which helps tribes develop and strengthen their justice systems’ response to crime, while expanding services to meet their communities’ public safety needs.

Quapaw tribe

The Quapaw tribe received $4,590,422 for three service areas: public safety and community policing; justice systems and alcohol and substance abuse; and corrections and correctional alternatives.

“This is great news for the Quapaw Tribe and our community partners across the Tri-State Region,” Quapaw Chairman John Berrey said in an emailed statement. “We look forward to serving as good custodians of these funds, and using them to improve lives for everyone by making our communities safer, more drug free, and more productive.”

The largest award for the tribe was $3.9 million for corrections and correctional alternatives. The tribe's primary law enforcement agency, the Quapaw Tribal Marshals, plan to use the grant to address the first phase of creating a justice center to provide a more efficient, consolidated work space.

“Basically, we're trying to get all of our programs under one roof,” said Josh Lewis, chief of the Quapaw Tribal Marshals.

The tribe was also given $232,929 for its public safety and community policing efforts, which will primarily go toward equipment and training for the marshals, Lewis said. Another objective is to replace the agency's DARE car driven by John Millard, Quapaw school resource officer.

Millard has been the school resource officer for the Quapaw School District since 2013 and said the funding will help him continue successful programs with local students like the Seat Belts Are For Everyone program. The teen-driven safety program was implemented to help decrease the number of motor vehicle-related injuries and fatalities among high school students by increasing seat belt usage.

Lastly, an award of $446,714 will go toward the tribe’s Justice Systems and Alcohol and Substance Abuse efforts to continue funding its numerous abuse services to both Native Americans and non-Native Americans at low cost.

Wyandotte Nation

The Wyandotte Nation received $200,189 through the department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services for its public safety and community policing initiatives.

“We were very honored to receive this COPS award from the Department of Justice,” Wyandotte Nation Chief Billy Friend said in an email. “It will better enable us to serve and protect not only the citizens of the Wyandotte Nation, but also the residents of Wyandotte and Ottawa County.”

Chief of the Wyandotte Tribal & Municipal Police Department Ken Murphy said the grant will help the agency expand its growing community policing ideology. The department hosts several events catered for the community like the annual National Night Out event, community meetings and Shop With A Cop.

This will be the tribe’s third consecutive year to receive the grant, according to Murphy. About $31,000 will be designated for travel expenses and officer training.

The remaining amount will go towards purchasing updated equipment like new radar or traffic units, as well as upgrading its fleet vehicles. Murphy said that the tribe has been fortunate in receiving Community Oriented Policing Services grants throughout the years, and this most recent grant will help fund two vehicles until the year 2020.

Seneca-Cayuga Nation

The Seneca-Cayuga Nation received $1,023,181 in grants through the Justice Department. An $825,000 grant will be used for the tribe's Violence Against Women Tribal Governments Program.

The second grant of $198,181 grant was awarded under the Adam Walsh Act Implementation grant program, which is part of the Office of Justice Program’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking.

That will enable the Seneca-Cayuga Nation to develop and enhance programs that implement the requirements of the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. Attempts to reach tribal officials for comment on Monday were unsuccessful.

Purpose

Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitationgrants through the Justice Department are designed to enhance law enforcement practices, expand victim services, and sustain crime prevention and intervention efforts. Awards cover nine areas: public safety and community policing, justice systems planning, alcohol and substance abuse, corrections and correctional alternatives, children’s justice act partnerships, services for victims of crime, violence against women, juvenile justice, and tribal youth programs.

©2017 The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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